Port Maria to get new market, fire station
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie has confirmed the construction of a fire station and market in St Mary's capital, Port Maria.
During a tour of the parish on Tuesday, McKenzie toured the market in Port Maria and visited the communities of Annotto Bay and Broadgate where a boulder rolled down a hill and killed 12-year-old Raheem Davey last Friday night.
Speaking after a press conference at the St Mary Municipal Corporation, formerly known as the St Mary Parish Council, McKenzie said the new market would comprise a two-storey building and be built in conjunction with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund at a cost of approximately $68 million.
He said: "The municipal corporations are now going to have to earn their own way because one of the policies of this Government is that they have to be self-sufficient and earn their own revenue. The concept of the market, as recommended by former mayor Richard Creary, is that it is built in a way that a section can be made open to the public, so they can rent the shops to do other business. And that is the intent: to have the vendors on the ground floor and open commercial activities on the second floor."
The minister said that the move towards giving local authorities greater autonomy over their budgets could help generate huge revenues for a parish such as St Mary with many heritage sites and vacant land.
He said: "Allt he municipal corporations in the country rely on central government for support, yet they are sitting on a gold mine, and in most cases, it is a lack of either vision or leadership why they are not earning their full potential from the revenue sources that are there.
"[St Mary's] municipal corporation owns acres of land that can be developed for private development, hotels, and housing. What are they doing with it? There is a divestment committee I've established since I became the minister. If they have proposals to sell or lease these properties, we are encouraging them to do so."